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Growth affects dispersal success in social mole-rats, but not the duration of philopatry
Univ Cambridge, UK.
Univ Pretoria, South Africa.
Univ Cape Town, South Africa.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Univ Cambridge, UK. (Ctr Ecol & Evolut Microbial Model Syst EEMiS)
2018 (English)In: Biology Letters, ISSN 1744-9561, E-ISSN 1744-957X, Vol. 14, no 2, article id 20180005Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber), some non-breeding males show faster growth and are more likely to disperse than others. These differences have been suggested to be the result of a specialized developmental strategy leading to shorter philopatry and independent breeding, as opposed to extended philopatry as non-reproductive helpers. However, it is unclear whether fast-growing males disperse sooner than slow-growing males. An alternative explanation is that variation in quality between individuals causes high-quality individuals to grow quickly and maximize dispersal success without reducing philopatry. Here we show that in Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis), males that subsequently disperse successfully grow faster than other non-reproductive males. This pattern is predicted by both hypotheses and does not discriminate between them. However, contrary to the suggestion that faster growth represents a developmental specialization for early dispersal, fast-growing and slow-growing males remained equally long in their natal groups. Our study provides no evidence for adaptive divergence in male development leading either to early dispersal or extended philopatry. Instead of representing specialized dispersers, fast-growing males of this species may be high-quality individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 14, no 2, article id 20180005
Keywords [en]
dispersal, developmental plasticity, life-history trade-off, growth, eusociality, cooperative breeding
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Science, Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71755DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0005ISI: 000426463200020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-71755DiVA, id: diva2:1192542
Available from: 2018-03-22 Created: 2018-03-22 Last updated: 2018-03-22Bibliographically approved

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Zöttl, Markus

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
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  • vancouver
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